Sunday Lowdown #162


Getting back into school after three weeks at home was good for me. In my introduction to interpreting class, we worked on “multiple meaning words” all week, which truly boosted my confidence. I didn’t realize I was as skilled at them as I thought. What are MMW? Think about how we use the word “run” in English. Run an errand, run a race, run for mayor, have the runs, run after the child, run in your pantyhose, a machine running smoothly, etc. In English it’s all the same word; in ASL it is not, so which sign or classifier do you choose to express what you mean?

Students also received an email that starting March 25th we will have ASL 4 on campus again, so I’m excited about that. When I see but don’t know one specific sign, I should just move on (like we do when reading in English), but not knowing will eat up a day’s worth of thinking, so having the professor there to ask questions immediately will be great. This past week we learned several signs for countries (sorry Australia, but your appears to be, basically, “drop off criminals”), how to describe your ancestry, and reasons people leave a country. The assignment was to record a video that included two countries. I chose to sign about Lou @ Lou Reads! After trying several countries/ people/ stories, I realized I could explain that Lou is a nurse in England, how she taught students during the pandemic, and that she had wanted a vacation by train through Russia.

I’ve discovered that part of what I’m so tired lately is it takes a lot of energy for me to listen when the environment for listening isn’t great. For example, me listening to an audiobook in my car as I travel on the freeway to school. The freeway road sounds are loud, so as the volume goes up and my brain strains to understand every word, my mental capacity goes down over the day because I’m fatigued from analyzing. I’ve put a hiatus on audiobooks.


I had lots of fun reading Stranger Weather by Becky Hagenston and was surprised by how funny she could be in one image and completely unsettling in another. Several of you have mentioned you don’t care for short stories, but I will say the length of the book makes a great deal of difference to me — about 120-140 pages is the sweet spot. Much longer, and I grow tired of investing in the same author, especially if they beat a dead horse with one theme the entire collection.

Have I convinced you to read Charlotte Perkins Gilman yet? What Diantha Did is like a modern treatise on workers’ rights. The organization, respect for workers, and demand for equal pay that Diantha achieves for all women in domestic work would make many of us jealous today.


Another short story collection coming to you Tuesday morning. This time, I have Where the Dog Star Never Glows by Tara Lynn Masih. Her work is totally different from Hageston though they’re from the same publisher, which I appreciate, but I did have fairly strong reactions to the openings of the stories. Another experience post coming!

I’ve been exercising a lot more than I did in the past, so I grabbed the nonfiction book The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts by Hanne Blank to see what she says about moving in the body you have, not the body you think you should want. Post on Thursday.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 190
Owned Books on TBR Today: 188

Biscut and I are going to read this one for our book club. We definitely love Dolly Parton!


  1. I’ve been getting up early and immediately walking Samus and I have to say that doing that has helped my mental state. Of course, you always hear that exercise can help with that but I’m just walking for 20 minutes. Nothing too strenuous, but just getting away from house (but not going to work) has been helping. I have also made it a goal that work does not affect my life outside of work. No worrying about that place anymore. It’s a paycheck and there is more to life. Part of me is excited to get back to school this week and part of me is going to miss not worrying about school either. Now if it would just stop snowing and get warm!
    I hope skipping audiobooks during your drive helps you feel less fatigued. 🙂


    • There was actually a whole section in the exercise book about small incremental activity and what it can do for you and why. I thought it was interesting, and I’m glad Samus is all the happier for outdoorsy time (unless Samus is one of those “ew, outdoors” dogs).

      Do you do lots of worrying in your sleep, or is that just a me thing? I used to have bad dreams about work a lot. Last night I was dreaming about the bachelor party in Pennsylvania Nick is going to in two weeks, and I was nearly crippled with muscle pain when I woke up because I was fretting they wouldn’t have enough to eat. Are these dudes even going to feed themselves over the course of 72 hours? Is it my job to worry about that??

      Liked by 1 person

      • They are grown ass adults; you do not need to be worrying that deeply about them!
        Most of the time I don’t remember my dreams unless it’s really screwed up. I do clench my teeth a lot while sleeping though. I should probably get a nightgard but I don’t think I can sleep with something in my mouth.
        Samus likes being wherever I am. She won’t stay outside and enjoy the yard by herself, but if one of us is out there, she likes it. She LOVES going for walks. She gets so hyped I have to try to keep her quiet, so she doesn’t wake Rob up.


  2. Yaaasssss for exercise. It’s one the best tools in my belt for mental health. When I finally was able to divorce exercise from weight loss in my brain, that’s one of the best concepts that I’ve ever reckoned with. I’m psyched for you. What kinds of movement are enjoyable for you? I enjoy yoga, dancing, walking, and the elliptical.


    • I like the Walk at Home program started by Leslie Sansone, but I don’t like her as the lead. There’s a guy named Jordan who never mentions weight or calories. I enjoy Walk at Home because it’s to great music, which reminds me of dancing. Which, I do like dancing and have loved me some Richard Simons in the past, though he is weight OBSESSED. I used to enjoy Billy Banks boxing a lot. Before I moved to Indiana I bicycled all the time. It’s not safe here to do so.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am glad to be a useful subject for schoolwork! By the way, my friend and I finally decided where to transfer the booking that was meant to be for our Russia trip – instead, we’re going to Peru this summer. I’m very excited!

    Looking forward to the exercise book – I’ve got very out of the habit of exercising the last couple of years, because swimming is my favourite and of course all the pools have been closed. I’m hoping to start easing back into it soon, though!


    • It was a whole story about teaching nurses to fill a need and wanting to read Russian books (though I think I confused that when I wrote my script; I said that you wanted to read Russian novels before you went, and later I remember you read them instead of going. I think).

      Oooooh, Peru should be fun.

      Yes, the exercise book was tremendously helpful, and I’m going to start writing my post in a few minutes.


  4. What? Drop off criminals! What’s that about? Our convict heritage? Ned Kelly and our bushrangers? Our current hopeless government! Are there any other countries with signs as embarrassing as ours?

    That whole issue of MMW comes up of course in ESL courses. I don’t think we are the only language that has that, though maybe we have a lot? But that’s irrelevant, isn’t it. The point is that in whatever language, they are a challenge.

    I must read your Gilman review. My daughter was up for a few days last week so I’ve been even more tardier than usual with my blogging and reading.


    • I mean, maybe a person could argue it’s NOT “drop off criminals,” but it totally LOOKS LIKE drop off criminals. To be fair, some folks alter the sign for “kangaroo” to look more like the sign for “Australia”….but you know what’s what.

      Many of the Asian countries had a sign name that was basically pulling at the corner of your eye. When everyone got together and realized, “Oh yeah, that’s racist” each country got a different sign name. Now, we use the sign that the country itself uses in their own sign language. So, for China you use your pointer finger to touch your left shoulder, then your right, then your right hip (and vice versa if you’re left handed).


      • Haha Melanie re the criminals. Fascinating re Asian countries and using what they use. I assume that, unlike spoken language where some languages have sounds that are really difficult or tricky for speakers of very different languages to make, sign language signs are all (relatively) equally easy to do. You just have to know them? ie there are no difficult physical contortion signs like there are in spoken language.

        Also, I guess as people can talk too fast you can also sign too fast? Is that an issue discussed?


        • It’s true, some signs are harder to do than others because they have a lot of movement, but I haven’t encountered and challenging signs for country names thus far. And I know what you mean! I know folks love Nordic crime thrillers, for example, but I can’t pronounce any of the names or locations.

          Whether talking or singing, if you go to fast and people can’t understand you, what you’re doing is not effective. I know some of my peers want to sign fast because they see some Deaf people sign fast, but fast and accurate are not equivalent.


          • You answered about fast signing just the way I expected. Funny how some people see faster as better. No, not always. They need to think about their criterion… Is speed the goal or being understood? If it’s the latter you probably will get faster, in good time!


            • I know that when we had to read a passage aloud on video for an assignment, mine was one of the longest run times. I think students assumed reading fast would mean they sound smarter, but it’s reading clearly and enunciating every word (which I have practice doing reading to Nick every night for the last, oh, six years) is more valuable.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Love that the Dolly Parton book also has a soundtrack. But of course it does! Super interesting about your listening fatigue. At least it is a pretty easy fix.


    • Many folks, myself from the past included, don’t realize that hearing is so much about your brain rather than just your ears, which is why adjust to hearing assistance devices, like hearing aids or a cochlear implant, can be so challenging.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It makes sense that a word like “run” would have multiple signs since the meanings can all be so different, I had just never thought about something like that. I’m glad you figured out what’s making you tired and are able to adjust. I’ve found that my 30s have really been about figuring out my own best ways to rest and recover and leaning into what I truly enjoy. I love Dolly Parton too – I’m not really a country music fan but I think she’s such an awesome person!


    • Dolly’s music reminds me so much of storytelling like the old country stars used to do that it’s hard to think of her being compared to modern country singers who are obsessed with stereotypical nonsense and a healthy dose of “if I’m ignorant you’re just too sensitive.”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. K so I laughed out loud at your description of the Australia sign, and I’m at work so that was a bit awkward, but I don’t regret it! Your Sunday posts are actually my favourite because I find you especially funny!


  8. I love the sound of the exercise book. I really hate the narrative that women want to exercise only to be thin and that we only want to be “toned” whatever that is and fear getting muscular. I love it when I have muscles! And I exercise to be strong and well and to keep going.


  9. At least Sue/WG has a dropped off criminal in her ancestry, mine were mostly just boring economic migrants from England. I wonder if our First Nations – like the Asians – will insist on a more respectful sign or will just roll about, laughing.


  10. It’s been a long time since reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman. We’ve made some progress since her time, but we are regressing. It’s great to read about your experiences learning ASL. It’s something I had wanted to do when I was younger. Maybe someday, I will!


    • She has similar feminist thoughts to what I hear today, such as “women deserve equal pay,” but the way she breaks it down into time, labor, cost of labor, etc. feels tremendously forward thinking.


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